How much storage is too much?
I hear this all the time. It’s often why folks need to move, or why they don’t buy a house they otherwise love.
But do you?
I spent a few hours yesterday, with my son, in the attic. Sorting, consolidating, and carrying out piles to give, donate, or toss. Oh what a feeling! (“Fun” might be a stretch, but gratifying is a solid description.)
So I got to thinking... I’m a crazy minimalist- (You know, that person who takes a picture of their kids artwork, then throws the artwork in the trash…), and I STILL filled the car with donations.
Sooo much stuff that I didn’t need to be hanging on to! Stacks of blankets, neatly bagged and untouched in 3+ years? Nope. Boxes of craft supplies from long abandoned projects? Bye. 👋
My dollhouse and the general store my dad made me? Well, let’s not get crazy. Those aren’t going anywhere. My 30 cake pans of various sizes and shapes? Well, I (and my commitment to cutting sugar) are hanging on to those too. Because with some things, you never know. It’s just that with some things, you do.
This is a great time of year to tackle those things- not too hot, not too cold, you can always take a break with Marie Kondo on Netflix, and get back to it, and unless your house is on the market right this minute, it’s always good to get ahead of things. So how to make that plan?
My top tips:
1) Get a partner. It doesn’t matter so much who- a professional organizer (I know some good ones), or your 15 year old son. It’s not fun, but having someone else will keep you on task, and hopefully prevent you from falling down a sentimental rabbit hole. *Perhaps make sure the partner is not going to be sentimental about the same things- so if you have a sappy sister, she’s not your gal for this game.
2) Assess the situation. Don’t try to tackle everything at once. If you’re doing the attic, do the attic. Only. Focus. Otherwise, you may just pass out from overwhelm. How much do you want to accomplish? OR- if you don’t have all day, set your clock for 1 hour, or 45 minutes- something. Just to get started, and make sure you’ve given yourself a task that will feel like you accomplished something. This is definitely a situation where feeling good will keep you coming back to complete it!
3) Evaluate with a harsh eye. This is where that partner can really come in handy. I found a box that must’ve had 200 markers and colored pencils. I hesitated, and my son looked at me and said, “Really?? When do you plan on using those? When the other hundred downstairs break?” Duly noted. Gone.
Oh, and don’t get sucked into looking at all the pictures or baby clothes. Not the first time. Just put them all together and make that a process for another day. If this is the first pass, make it the first pass. Get the low hanging fruit and keep moving.
Materials to have on hand: Sharpies, trash bags, boxes or tubs to put things in. (Although we found we had so many extras after consolidating, donating, and tossing…) Oh, and a couple of hours and a good mood.
I cannot stress enough how much of a difference this will make, whether it’s closet, attic, garage, etc. and whether you’re moving in a month, a year, or even never. If you are thinking to sell at some point, you will be in such a better position when the time comes. And if you’re just thinking you’re running out of space, it may turn out that you’re not. (Yes, I’m a realtor, and I said that.)